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Williams v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

May 1, 2017

ALEXANDER WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER

          SAMUEL H. MAYS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Petitioner Alexander Williams's Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody, filed on November 10, 2016. (ECF No. 1 (“§ 2255 Mot.”).) The Government filed a response to the § 2255 Motion on February 14, 2017. (Resp. of Gov't to Pet'r's Mot. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, ECF No. 6 (“§ 2255 Resp.”).) Williams has not filed a reply in support of the § 2255 Motion, and the deadline for doing so has passed. (Order Directing Gov't to Respond, ECF No. 5 (“February 2017 Order”) (setting 14-day reply deadline).) For the reasons described below, the § 2255 Motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On December 5, 2013, a federal grand jury in the Western District of Tennessee returned an indictment against Williams. (Indictment, ECF No. 3 in 13-20357.[1]) Count 1 of the indictment charged Williams with robbing a fast-food store on or about August 23, 2013, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951. (Id. at 1.) Count 2 charged Williams with committing a “crime of violence” while “knowingly us[ing], carry[ing], and brandish[ing] a firearm, ” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). (Id. at 2.) The underlying crime of violence was the robbery alleged in Count 1. (Id.) Count 3 charged Williams with possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). (Id.)

         On March 18, 2015, Williams pled guilty to Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment. (See, e.g., Plea Agreement 1, ECF No. 36 (“Plea Agreement”).[2])

         Before sentencing, the U.S. Probation Office prepared a Presentence Investigation Report. (PSR in 13-20357 (“PSR”).) The PSR calculated Williams's guidelines-sentencing range based on the 2014 edition of the U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual (“U.S.S.G.”). (Id. ¶ 14.)

         Williams's total offense level for Count 1 was 19. (Id. ¶ 24.) His total criminal-history score was 9, resulting in a criminal-history category IV. (Id. ¶ 36.) Based on the total offense level and the criminal-history category, Williams's recommended guidelines-sentencing range for Count 1 was 46 to 57 months. (Id. ¶ 72.)

         As to Count 2, the PSR concluded that, under U.S.S.G. § 2K2.4, “if the defendant is convicted of violating [18 U.S.C. § 924(c)], the guideline range is the minimum term of imprisonment required by statute, which is seven years in this case.” (Id. ¶ 25 (emphasis removed) (citing U.S.S.G. § 2K2.4).) The PSR also concluded that the Count 2 imprisonment term must be imposed consecutively to the Count 1 imprisonment term. (Id. ¶¶ 70-71; cf. 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A).) The result was a combined sentencing-guidelines range of 130 to 141 months. (Id. at Sentencing Recommendation.)

         Williams had “no objections to the [PSR's] guidelines calculations.” (Position of Def. with Respect to Sentencing Factors ¶ 2, ECF No. 39 in 13-20357.)

         Williams was sentenced on July 1, 2015. (Minute Entry, ECF No. 41 in 13-20357.) The Court adopted the PSR's guidelines calculations without objection. The Court sentenced Williams to 46 months on Count 1 and 84 months on Count 2, “to be served consecutively, ” for a total prison term of 130 months, the low end of the guidelines range. (J. in Criminal Case 2.) Williams did not appeal his conviction or his sentence.

         Williams filed the § 2255 Motion on November 10, 2016. (§ 2255 Mot.) On February 7, 2017, the Court ordered the Government to respond to the § 2255 Motion. (February 2017 Order.) The Government filed its response on February 14, 2017. (§ 2255 Resp.)

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW FOR § 2255 MOTIONS

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a):

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).

         “A prisoner seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 must allege either: ‘(1) an error of constitutional magnitude; (2) a sentence imposed outside the statutory limits; or (3) an error of fact or law that was so fundamental as to render the entire proceeding invalid.'” Short v. United States, 471 F.3d ...


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